Trying out the Google Wifi Mesh network

Like many people I’m using Apple’s Airport base stations (I’m running two of them) in my home to provide wireless coverage. Again, like many people covering all the areas that I need a signal has proven to be difficult, so I started looking for solutions—the one I’m considering strongly is Google Wifi.

Here are the key points that Google promises for its router:

  • A new type of connected system that replaces your router for seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home, helping eliminate dead zones and buffering
  • Network Assist technology keeps your connection fast by always selecting the clearest channel and fastest band for your devices
  • A simple app gets you set up quickly and allows you to see what’s connected, prioritize devices, and pause the Wi-Fi on kids’ devices
  • A single Wi-Fi point covers up to 1,500 sq. ft., a set of three covers homes up to 4,500 sq. ft. Wi-Fi points work together so you can add more if you need additional coverage
  • 24/7 phone support from Google; 1-year warranty

I’ll be honest, I’m skeptical. However, I was speaking with a friend last night about these routers and he said they were amazing. He also said setup was really easy with the iOS app—the network was up and running in no time. Basically, plug it in, connect to the app and he was done.

He has a large home and recently replaced his Airports with Google Wifi. He purchased the 3-pack, which is much more than what I would need, but he said it covers his entire house with fast, reliable speeds.

That’s the key for me—fast, reliable speeds throughout the entire property. I want to be able to have the fastest speeds possible wherever I am—right now I don’t have that. If I go outside or a room farthest away from the routers, my speeds drop dramatically and sometimes it will disconnect completely.

There are other mesh network options available from a variety of companies, like the Eero, and Orbi, but they are much more expensive.

I’m trying to balance the cost with something that will give me the fastest connection I can get. Right now, that seems to be Google Wifi.

I’ll keep you up-to-date on how I make out with it.

  • I’ll be honest – I was very skeptical at first of how fast a Mesh network could be after my experiences with range extenders. But, Google WiFi proved me wrong. I have a three ‘puck’ set-up and a fourth OnHub on my network and it’s been great for my house. I have fast, dependable WiFi on every floor of my house and my family of 4 can stream all day long without bogging down the network.

    I’ve also run Cat6 cable to each of the access points, so I’ve got the full 2×2 MIMO instead of using a 1×1 slice for bandwidth/repeating.

    The device pausing and access logs are great. It’s a really solid solution that I hope stays updated and fresh. The price is bang-on, too.

    • Do you have a big house? I’m thinking I might only need two, but the price of three is pretty good.

      • Our house isn’t giant (as far as midwestern American houses go, anyway) — around 2500 sq. ft. — but it’s 119 years old, so we have go get signals through plaster walls, lathe, etc. and one central router wouldn’t cut it. If we wanted to get a signal outside in the yard, it would have to penetrate three layers of brick – not an easy task.

        The three-pack is probably overkill for our needs, but you can’t beat the price. Worst case scenario, you only use two and could sell the third… it’s an awesome little router.

        All things considered, I don’t need three – I could space them out better and get sufficient coverage with two. But, since I had a third, and I had a spare OnHub laying around, I thought, “why not?”

        — Here’s how to mesh in an OnHub, if you’re interested:

  • josh dyson

    I’ve got Orbi and I love it. I think it outperforms some of the other mesh setups largely because it has a dedicated WiFi backhaul for communication between the bases (Eero and Google use the same bands for clients). If you wire them together, that doesn’t matter much, but that would have been expensive for me.

  • Adrayven

    @jdalrymple:disqus Highly, HIGHLY recommend Amplifi – I love mine! Is VERY MUCH an Apple like device. You can also buy just the router and extra base for ~$269, or get the 3 pack for $350.

    App setup is very easy and no worries about Google tracking. 😉

    Amplifi is a company owned by Ubiquiti Networks, Inc – A company doing Business enterprise wifi for more than a decade.

    • I concur. I got the top model and it is unbelievably fast. It’s also very easy to set up. Just make sure you run the firmware update utility on installation. The iOS app is great. And the company has only made Enterprise gear befor. This is their first consumer product. I’d buy it again.

    • dann h

      Wirecutter wasn’t too jazzed about the AmpliFi… – anything in there you disagree with?

  • STL

    Caution Will Robinson I don’t feel Google is to be trusted. I’m not interested in introducing any spy type of device in my home from Google and you shouldn’t be interested either. They have freely admitted mining individuals gmail to tailor ads to those individuals. Non starter for me.

    • Colin Mattson

      The potential for tracking bothers me less than Google’s habit of abandoning their shiny new projects out of the blue. Great price, but how long am I going to be able to use it?

  • Thanks for all the recommendations, folks!

  • rosewoodat5th

    Gee, I wonder why the Google ones are so much cheaper than their competitors.


    After adding some wifi cameras on my network it has bogged down. I am hoping to limp along until ASUS comes out with their mesh because I do not trust Google

  • Mo

    Only one LAN port for wired Ethernet? This is probably not for me.

  • mjm1138

    Whenever Google introduces a new device, people seem to forget that Google has a very different relationship with user data than Apple, or many other tech companies. With Google, you are ultimately the product they are selling. Never forget that, they never do.

  • jltnol

    Annnnnnnndddd anyone want to bet that Google isn’t literally cashing in on your browsing? Sorry, I don’t use Google for anything any more..

  • Tom Varela

    Jim, how’s it going with Google Wifi?